Friday, January 27, 2023

Croatia beat Brazil in penalty shoot-out in World Cup quarter-finals

RAYAN, Qatar ( Associated Press) – Croatia has a method to remember when it comes to soccer’s big events: hanging out until the last minute.

Once again, a team from a country whose population barely touches $4 million rose from the canvas when it seemed that Brazil were knocked out in a penalty shootout on Friday to advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar. kicked out

Bruno Petkovic’s goal in pain sealed a 1–1 tie after 120 minutes and Croatia claimed a 4–2 victory from the penalty spot and advanced to the World Cup final for the second consecutive edition.

Croatia has refused to give up at this point. Five of the team’s last six matches in the checkered jersey at the World Cup have gone to extra time, including a win on penalties against Japan in the round of 16 in Qatar. The only one who lost? One in the Russia 2018 final, 4-2 against France.

“It’s one of the biggest wins in (our) history, a great game was cleverly played and the team was clever to come back,” said Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic. “We showed that we know how to fight. To be back in the semi-finals after four years is a great success.

With Luka Modric leaving everything behind and Dominik Livkovic turning into the sensational goalkeeper of the World Cup, Croatia is unstoppable.

For five-time champions Brazil, everything can be summed up with a final 15 minutes in which they went from a fragile apotheosis to deep desperation.

“It was in our hands, it got out of our hands,” said Brazilian midfielder Casemiro.

Croatia will face Argentina in an attempt to repeat in the World Cup final four years after losing to France in the title race. La Albiceleste also advanced via penalties, winning 4–3 against the Netherlands.

“It is clear to me that people are surprised by the performance of the World Cup for the second time in a row,” Dalik said. “I just wanted to go step by step. We have already passed the group, the eighth and the quarters and the semi-finals are coming. It is not normal, but we are a complete group that works with professionalism.”

After Neymar’s superb goal – following a series of saves and dribbles – put Brazil ahead in the 105th minute, Petkovic equalized for Croatia in the 117th minute to send the game to penalties.

“We knew we could do this because we are a team that achieves the goals we set,” the strategist said.

Rodrigo’s shot was blocked early on by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, from 11 metres, and Marquinhos missed the fourth execution. Livkovic, who made saves in the domestic league with Dinamo Zagreb, had only covered after shots in the penalty shootout against Japan in the round of 16.

Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Mejr, Modric and Mislav Orsic converted in that order for Croatia, who are repeating the formula that worked for them in Russia where, like Qatar, they won on penalties to reach the semi-finals. This is how they left Denmark and hosts Russia on the road four years ago. Since his debut in France in 1998, he has come through four rounds of the 11m he has played in his Youth World Cup history.

Only Casemiro and Pedro hit their penalties for Brazil, one of the great title contenders, who missed their first series of penalties since Mexico 1986, when they also lost to France in the quarter-finals.

Coach Tite said, “We must be ready to share the joy when you win, but also share the sadness when you lose.” “We now have a new generation of players who will find strength in adversity. I understand that ultimately I am responsible, but there is no hero in a win or a villain in a loss, it is not.”

Tite said that the defeat marks the end of his cycle as it is something he had already announced and “I will keep my word.”

Brazil crashed again against a European rival in the deciding stage of the World Cup. They have not won since winning their fifth title after defeating Germany in the 2002 Korea–Japan final.

Tite said he had no regrets about the five changes he made, two of them in extra time when he replaced Lucas Paqueta and Eder Militão with Alex Sandro and Fred.

“If you think the team was disorganized, that is your opinion, not mine,” he said. “We had players to apply high pressure, we tried to keep the ball to Pedro, arrived with Danilo and we did that, but he had a play which we deflected and we lost. I understand the pain and criticism of

The first half was rocky, with both teams alternating possession and creating scoring chances.

Brazil’s best complement was at the start when Rafinha sent in a cross from the right and defender Josco Guardiol deflected the ball into the area, forcing a hurried clearance from Livakovic.

Livkovic also foiled Neymar’s dangerous shots of 54 and 76.

The duel went into extra time, and Neymar scored a remarkable goal to send Brazil through to the semi-finals. The star hit a few walls before leaving for Livakovic to open up space with his dribble and finish with a touch from the left post.

The score allowed Neymar to equal Pelé as the Selecao’s top scorer with 77 goals.

But Croatia did not give up and tied it at the end of the second extra time in a counterattack launched by their indomitable 37-year-old midfielder Modric.

The game was quick when Casemiro lost the ball near the center circle. Borna Sosa sent a cross from the left towards the area, where Petkovic appeared to send the game into a penalty shootout.

Nation World News Desk
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